Okla. deputy who was 'hunted' by suspect who killed partner credits former cop for saving her
Melody Norton was with Sgt. Bobby Swartz, a 25-year veteran who was shot and killed during the incident, and deputy investigator Mark Johns, who was wounded
By Sarah Calams
OKLAHOMA CITY — A deputy is speaking out for the first time after a suspect shot at her and her partners while they were serving eviction papers last summer, fatally wounding one officer.
KOCO.com reported that Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office deputy Melody Norton was with Sgt. Bobby Swartz, a 25-year veteran who was shot and killed during the incident, and deputy investigator Mark Johns, who was wounded. After the shooting, the suspect led law enforcement on a pursuit and was eventually caught at Tinker Air Force Base. But during the shooting, Norton said there was a hero who saved her life: a former police officer from Mexico.
“The gunshots start coming more and more, and I realize I can’t get to where they are safely,” Norton, who found herself in the middle of the gunfight, recalled. “We met evil that day for sure.”
Norton eventually found cover behind a nearby pickup truck, but she wasn’t alone.
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“I hear a voice behind me and it’s a man named Juan and he’s working at the house across the street,” Norton told KFOR.com. “I remember looking at him and he said, ‘I’m going to get you out of this.’ I’m in the middle of the street and the gunfire just keeps coming. And at a split second, I hear Juan say, ‘Now run!’ I run across the street, get cover behind a brick wall.”
Juan, according to Norton, tried to put himself in front of her to shield the officer from gunfire.
“I kept saying, ‘No, no. I’m the one with the vest,'” she said. “And he says, ‘No, I’m helping you.’”
The suspect later admitted he was hunting for Norton: “He had ambushed us when we were separated. There was just no way for me to get back where they were,” Norton said. “And there was really nowhere for me to go except for the vehicles. He made sure he hit every one of those in an effort to find me.”
Seven months later, Norton said she’s still reeling from the incident, but credits Juan for saving her life.
“A citizen that did not have to help me absolutely saved me that day. And I’ll be forever grateful to him because, again, he didn’t have to put himself in that circumstance,” she said.
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